The Pervasive Monuments project is in full, almost incomprehensible swing, and the swirling mass of ideas, issues and things to consider seems to multiply by the second.
We’ve been looking at is the notion of a monument, or rather, a digital or “pervasive” monument as not just a static thing or even a static experience, but as a system of inputs and outputs. These inputs and outputs would feed in and out of a middleware infrastructural layer that would pull all of the data, geospatial, archival, media and otherwise from various sources and collate it.
The output bit is now called Spomenik (“memorial” or “monument” in Slovenia/Croatian/Serbian) as the original mobile monument project was named, and the input bit is called Urwibutso (“memorial” in Kinyarwanda). The middleware we’re calling 1948 after the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
One of the hardest things to try and design for, well on top of designing for mass human extermination in general, is to try and design a considered experience around places that people may not necessarily want to experience. We’re covering very difficult issues and that have literally been buried right under people’s noses.
We’re calling this strand of design thinking “The Hunt” because of the, for lack of a better metaphor, treasure hunt experience it would entail.
Slovenia (like Rwanda in many ways) is a small and semi-dense country and basically these graves are more or less everywhere, a lot of times literally in a lot of people’s backyards. The desktop/web app would be a visualisation of this and then drive the user to actually see that spot in the woods right behind their house. The mobile app would then serve almost as a metal detector, with the heads down experience of using it to home into the site(s). Also, the vibrate or even speaker could be used (heartbeats, vibrations, etc.) to create an experience of getting closer and closer, creating some sort of almost heart in your hand, getting more and more excited/nervous. There could also be the idea that maybe as you had it over the ground it would act as an x-ray, showing as you scanned over the site items or pictures buried beneath you.
The idea is one of uncovering and discovery, and trying to get people to explore real places. Its also the idea of using this idea of the handset as a lens, not around you to buildings in crowded places, but in solitary places, looking at the ground and imagining what lies buried beneath.